Category Archives: Arkansas

Alabama tops coaches poll, Auburn No. 23

The preseason estimation of the coaches in the USA Today poll is out and there were not many surprises at the top Alabama got 55 of the 59 first-place votes but only 77 more total points than No. 2 Ohio State.

Just a reminder: Nick Saban is a voter in the poll and he previously said he didn’t think Alabama should be voted the preseason No. 1. So, we might have an idea where one of the four Ohio State votes originated.

Overall, there are six SEC schools in the top 25 and five of Alabama’s opponents on the list.

Rank; Team (first-place votes); 2009 record; Points; Final 2009 rank
1. Alabama (55); 14-0; 1,469; 1
2. Ohio State (4); 11-2; 1,392; 5
3. Florida; 13-1; 1,245; 3
4. Texas; 13-1; 1,240; 2
5. Boise State; 14-0; 1,215; 4
6. Virginia Tech; 10-3; 1,052; 10
7. TCU; 12-1; 1,051; 6
8. Oklahoma; 8-5; 1,035; NR
9. Nebraska; 10-4; 1,001; 14
10. Iowa; 11-2; 952; 7
11. Oregon; 10-3; 940; 11
12. Wisconsin; 10-3; 778; 16
13. Miami (Fla.); 9-4; 728; 19
14. Penn State; 11-2; 508; 8
15. Pittsburgh; 10-3; 492; 15
16. LSU; 9-4; 476; 17
17. Georgia Tech; 11-3; 455; 13
18. North Carolina; 8-5; 445; NR
19. Arkansas; 8-5; 438; NR
20. Florida State; 7-6; 374; NR
21. Georgia; 8-5; 312; NR
22. Oregon State; 8-5; 263; NR
23. Auburn; 8-5; 260; NR
24t. Utah; 10-3; 169; 18
24t. West Virginia; 9-4; 169; 22

Others receiving votes

Cincinnati (12-1) 135; Houston (10-4) 76; Brigham Young (11-2) 66; Arizona (8-5) 65; Ole Miss(9-4) 48; Clemson (9-5) 44; Stanford (8-5) 41; Connecticut (8-5) 40; Notre Dame (6-6) 38; South Carolina (7-6) 38; Washington (5-7) 26; Missouri (8-5) 23; Navy (10-4) 12; Oklahoma State (9-4) 11; Boston College (8-5) 10; Michigan State (6-7) 10; Arizona State (4-8) 6; California (8-5) 6; Texas Tech (9-4) 5; South Florida (8-5) 4; Texas A&M (6-7) 3; Northwestern (8-5) 2; Temple (9-4) 2; Central Michigan (12-2) 1; Mississippi State (5-7) 1; Nevada (8-5) 1; Northern Illinois (7-6) 1; Southern Methodist (8-5) 1.

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Lobby fans vanish in Hoover

Remember yesterday when the lobby at the Wynfrey Hotel was complete chaos? Not so on Thursday. Without Alabama or Auburn (coming Friday) only a few stray Arkansas and Georgia fans are milling about so far.

SEC MEDIA DAY 2: And we’re off

It’s way too early for sports writers to have consciousness, but Bobby Petrino has stepped to the microphone to get this party started.

SEC director of officials Rogers Redding just spoke about rules changes. There aren’t many. The most notable difference concerns banning the 3-man wedge on kickoff returns. 

Keep an eye on the Twitter feed for updates throughout the day.

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Storm clouds on horizon for favorites at SEC tournament

 Photo by me

Lower seeds have certainly ruled the opening day of the SEC baseball tournament.

Of the three games already in the books, no favorites have succeeded. Seventh-seeded Alabama’s 7-1 beating of Auburn was followed by sixth-seeded Ole Miss’ win over No. 3 South Carolina.

The defending national champs, but No. 8 seed LSU just knocked off regular-season champion Florida in a spirited Game 3. Those LSU fans love them some LSU.

It’s now up to Arkansas, the four-seed, to keep it from being a white wash in the night cap against No. 5 Vanderbilt.

On a side note, let me say I’m not happy with the speed with which today’s action has been played. I didn’t leave Regions Park before 2:45 a.m. after covering Alabama in the last game of Day 1 last year. Mad maybe isn’t the word. More like bitter.

UPDATE: Vanderbilt completes the underdog sweep, 2-0 in the nightcap.

VIDEO: Alabama beats Arkansas

Park 1 of 2 of the final moments.
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And part 2, complete with a Rammer Jammer at the end.

Tide breaks four-game slide with huge second half

Alabama erased a 13-points second-half deficit with a 24-5 run that powered a 73-68 win over Arkansas in Coleman Coliseum.

JaMychal Green scored a game-high 22 with 12-for-13 shooting from the free-throw line and Mikhail Torrance was a spark off the bench with 12 points.

Read more tomorrow.

(Photo by Alabama media relations)

Arkansas basketball game almost sold out

Coleman Coliseum is nearly out of tickets for Saturday’s 3 p.m. basketball game with Arkansas. Alabama media relations sent a release Thursday stating only 500 tickets remained for the SEC West match up.

A quick check of the ticket site Friday morning revealed seats were still available, though. Maybe all this talk of snow disasters have scared buyers away.

If you can’t make it, stick with the blog for all the updates.

UPDATE: Ticket supply down to 400 as of early Friday afternoon.

Harris to return for S.C game, other notes

It’s been an interesting morning/afternoon at the football complex for the weekly news conference and player interviews. Of course Dont’a Hightower’s injury was the hottest topic, but another linebacker made news. He tops today’s rundown.

  • Jerrell Harris will be eligible to return for the South Carolina game Oct. 17 after serving what turns out to be a six-game suspension. Coach Nick Saban said the university got word from the NCAA on Friday evening concerning the eligibility of the backup linebacker who broke an unspecified NCAA rule. Read more about that Tuesday.
  • Trent Richardson was named SEC freshman of the week for the second time this season on the strength of his 52-yard touchdown run against Arkansas.
  • The game time and television has yet to be determined for the Oct. 10 game at Ole Miss. Those decisions are typically announced two Mondays in advance, but the networks exercised their option to delay this call. Florida plays LSU the same day.
  • There was considerable discussion about the hit Hightower took on the play that injured his left knee. His fellow defenders stopped short of calling it a dirty hit, but nobody on that unit is a fan of the kind of cut block used on the play. Again, read more about that topic in Tuesday’s newspaper.
  • If you read Monday’s Decatur Daily Inside Alabama notebook column, you’ll remember the recruiting story from 2006 referenced several times. To read the entire thing, click here.

Terrence Cody can fly

Check out this picture by Daily photographer Gary Cosby Jr. It looks like Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is about to pay the ultimate price with all 354 pounds of Terrence Cody looming above. It turns out the big guy was just jumping to avoid Mallett, but it makes for an amazing photo.

Alabama/Arkansas replay

To catch a commercial-free replay of the Tide’s fourth win of the season, check out the SEC Digital Network. Click this link.

Just curious, what were you guys thinking today when you saw Dont’a Hightower go down with that injury? How much will it hurt the Tide the rest of the way?

A few Thursday afternoon notes

Now felt like a good time to take a break from the normal Thursday marathon of story writing. Keep an eye out for Friday’s story that takes a behind the scenes look at how the Bryant-Denny Stadium field stays so dry in spite of heavy rain showers.

  • Former Alabama player Tommy Johnson was hired to coach the Lexington Horseman of the af2 where he will coach against the Tennessee Valley Vipers. Read more here.
  • Check out Nick Saban’s interview and preview of the Arkansas game with ESPN by clicking here.
  • My Saturday story will deal with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. If you want a head start on your homework, check out this story about the cannon-armed QB.
  • See USA Today’s prediction of Saturday’s game by clicking this link.
  • Tonight’s game between Ole Miss and South Carolina will be fascinating to see just how good the Rebels will be. No, it won’t tell the full story, but it should give us a better idea of how the Tide’s Oct. 10 game in Oxford stacks up.
  • Don’t forget to come back at noon Friday for the weekly Alabama chat. See you then.

Saban on SEC teleconference

Here are some of the highlights from the late morning teleconference:

  • Nick Saban said there are a lot of areas to improve the Tide defense. He said they’ve “played the run fairly well for the most part.” That might be something of an understatement since the Alabama run defense ranks second nationally.
  • When talking about injuries to Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch, Saban said both are continuing to progress and if that continues he’s “hopeful both guys can play in the game.”
  • The SEC West is incredibly balanced, Saban said, and Arkansas is just as good as anyone in the division.
  • Saban is impressed with the patience Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett shows in the pocket.

Razorback coach Bobby Petrino followed Saban on the teleconference.

  • Petrino said he was excited to play “in one of the greatest stadiums in the country” when referencing Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  • When talking about the defensive breakdowns in the 52-41 loss to Georgia, Petrino said there weren’t any signs of worry in practice leading up to the game. Georgia just found ways to make big plays while Arkansas had a few technique and assignment errors.
  • Petrino is “concerned” with a low 3rd down conversion rate (6-for-24) but said that should turn around soon.
  • Alabama’s wildcat and pistol formations have impressed Petrino because of the ability to misdirect defenses.
  • When asked about Alabama’s defense, Petrino said “there aren’t a lot of weaknesses.”

Alabama/Arkansas set for CBS, Richardson honored

Now, a few more notes for your Monday afternoon.

  • CBS will cover Alabama’s SEC opener with Arkansas on Sept. 26. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
  • The Southeastern Conference named Tide running back Trent Richardson its freshman of the week after the Florida native rolled up 118 yards against Florida International on Saturday. He was the only Alabama player to be honored in the weekly awards announced Monday morning.
  • Tide defensive end/linebacker Damion Square will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear, coach Nick Saban confirmed Monday. He will have surgery Tuesday.
  • Julio Jones is day-to-day with a bruised knee. I saw him coming into the football complex Monday afternoon and the star receiver was walking with a bit of a limp.
  • Roy Upchurch’s high-ankle sprain will take him out of action for an unknown period of time. Saban said it could be days or weeks before he’s back to full strength. Read more about ankle sprains here.

MEDIA DAY 1: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has honors

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was the first to step in front in front of the print media. Here are a few notes from his comments:

  • He is happy to have John L. Smith on board as his offensive coordinator. Petrino was an offensive coordinator under his new assistant at Louisville.
  • “John L. kind of raised my in this profession,” Petrino said.
  • He’s happy to see high school offenses throwing the ball around the field.
  • “There is no doubt we will be better.”
  • New QB Ryan Mallett “can throw the ball down field,” he said. The Michigan transfer also lost significant weight so he will be much more mobile than he had been.
  • He feels more comfortable at Media Days this time as opposed to last season — his first time.
  • Texas, Alabama, Florida games from last year were “blacked out” of his memory because of lost opportunities.
  • When asked if he voted for Tim Tebow for All-SEC first team, Petrino drew a laugh. “I’m not crazy. I probably did.” Tebow, to the surprise of many, was not a unanimous pick for the first-team when the coaches voted.
  • From the SEC: Arkansas returns players that accounted for 99 percent of its rushing and 97 percent of its passing from 2008.
  • “You just don’t think about those things,” Petrino said when asked how different his career would have been if Michael Vick had not gone to prison for the infamous dog fighting charges. Remember, Petrino coach most of one season with the Atlanta Falcons in the first season without Vick, who was just released from federal custody yesterday.
  • Please, I welcome any comments on the action. Also, vote on the “most obnoxious coach” poll on the left-hand side of the page.